Two local automotive dealerships have made a major donation to Okanagan College to help drive home the message that with more vehicles on the road, the valley will continue to need a greater number of skilled automotive service technicians in the coming years.
Kelowna Hyundai and Buy Direct Truck Centre have together donated $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus.
“We believe it is important to give back to our community, and for that reason we are very proud to support Okanagan College in building for the future with its new Trades Training Complex,” said John Kot, owner of Kelowna Hyundai & Buy Direct Truck Centre.
“Skilled technicians play a vital role in our industry, and we are so pleased that this gift will assist the next generation of automotive technicians training at the College.”
The new three-story Trades Training tower along KLO Road will open to students later this spring.
“Whenever a local employer chooses to give back to the College, it sends a message to our students that the valley’s industry believes in the high quality of training being offered here,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “The generous help of these two dealerships is greatly appreciated and builds on incredible support from the automotive sector over the past year-and-a-half.”
A completely renovated automotive shop is now in operation, along with brand-new classroom spaces geared up for training the automotive tradespeople of tomorrow. Support from auto dealers has been critical to the renovation of this space, notes Dennis Gabelhouse, Chair of the Bright Horizons campaign.
“Since our campaign launched in the fall of 2014, support from individuals, families, and businesses in the automotive sector has been remarkable,” says Gabelhouse. “More than $780,000 of our $7-million goal has come from this sector, to date. This donation is yet another example of a local employer looking to help the next wave of students put their education in gear.”
The new facilities at B.C.’s second largest trades training institution are coming on stream at a crucial time for students and employers.
Between now and 2024, it is projected that there will be job openings for more than 10,750 tradespeople in the Okanagan, including more than 1,100 automotive service technicians. In this same time period, openings are expected for more than 160,000 tradespeople province-wide.
When completed, the $33-million, 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion project will see decades old shops updated to match the same level of sustainable construction found within the new complex. An overall goal of achieving the coveted LEED Platinum certification has been set.
The provincial government has committed $28 million to the project. The Okanagan College Foundation is aiming to raise an additional $7 million, which includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million to support students and programming. To learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.